REPORTS: Doubts again over Hardik Pandya's return, will miss AFG T20 series but play IPL 2024
The speculation surrounding Hardik Pandya's tentative timeline to make his comeback from injury keeps on changing. While initial reports emerged that he would miss both the T20 series against Afghanistan and the Indian Premier League (IPL 2024), it was later confirmed that he would make a timely recovery for both marquee events.
Now in a recent report from ANI, the Indian all-rounder is likely to be missing the T20I series against Afghanistan but will be fit before the IPL 2024 from his ankle injury.
Pandya was part of India's 2023 ODI World Cup squad. He played four matches, picking five wickets before an ankle injury sustained during a league stage game against Bangladesh on October 19 ruled him out of the tournament. Pandya has not played any international cricket since then, having missed the five-match T20I series against Australia and the ongoing Proteas tour across all formats as well.
Hardik Pandya's fitness crucial for Mumbai Indians
Pandya faces a significant responsibility as the newly appointed captain of MI, stepping into the leadership role previously held by Rohit, who guided the team to five IPL title victories. Pandya's designation as captain came shortly after his transfer to MI, marking a noteworthy moment in his career.
During his tenure with GT from 2022-23, Pandya showcased peak form, accumulating 833 runs at an average of 37.86 and a strike rate exceeding 133. Additionally, Pandya made a mark with the ball, securing 11 wickets. With MI, Pandya amassed 1,476 runs at an impressive strike rate of over 153, comprised of four half-centuries and a highest score of 91. Pandya also proved his prowess as a bowler, taking 42 wickets with best bowling figures of 3/20.
Pandya's remarkable contributions have played a crucial role in securing five IPL trophies - four with MI (2015, 2017, 2019, 2020) and one with GT in 2022.